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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  September 14, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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those stories and much more straight ahead at 6:00. >> pelley: running for their lives. the race against a fast-moving wildfire that's destroyed hundreds of homes. >> it's chaos. it's just utter chaos. >> pelley: also tonight, out of jail, the clerk remains defiant. >> any marriage license issued by my office will not be issued or authorized by me. >> pelley: lottery winners not getting paid. >> i feel like my balloon was kind of deflated. >> pelley: and what makes a supreme court justice emotional. >> this is my father's watch. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: this is our western edition. fast and furious, a surging wildfire in northern california figures to become one of the
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five most destructive that the state has ever seen. in just two days, it's burned more than 61,000 acres and consumed 400 homes. 1,000 buildings could be gone before it's over. 19,000 people have been forced out. 1,200 firefighters are moving in. and danielle nottingham begins our coverage. re reporter: there was nothing they could do but run for their ugves when fire raced through middletown, residents captured these images as they were forced to drive through the flames. >> as we came down there was fire everywhere. our houses, our neighbors' houses, everybody's houses were burning up. it was awful. >> reporter: joyce rein and everett francis were among the thousands trying to escape. >> it went all the way around us. there was no stopping it. we just watched the houses around us burn. it was utter chaos. it was crazy. >> reporter: the valley fire
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burning in this town 95 miles north of san francisco is destroying up to 2,000 acres an hour. hamid heidary's apartment was one of 50 leveled in this complex. everybody's okay? >> yeah, thank god. that's the only good news we have. everybody is okay. >> reporter: but the situation remains dangerous. high winds continue to scatter embers and spread flames. a disabled elderly woman died when firefighters were unable to reach her. richard reiff is one of four firefighters burned after being dropped into the fire zone by helicopter recovering in the hospital. today he got a surprise call from california's governor jerry brown. >> you can't put words to it. >> reporter: don lopez spent the weekend trying to save this town. he's been a firefighter here for three decades. remarkably, the fire jumped past his home. >> as i came around the corner, i saw it. i just didn't know what to do. i just started crying. but i'm looking around at all my
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neighbors. they're just devastated. >> reporter: he's back on the frontlines today. >> this is what i do. this is what i love. this is my community. you just have to. there's no other word for it. you just have to keep going. >> reporter: as you can see, there are still fields of hot ashes here in middletown. there's a water shortage and power lines are down. now, without proper communications and sanitation, authorities aren't taking any chances. scott, it could be days before residents are expected to return pe their homes. >> pelley: danielle, thanks very much. that is just one of 36 major wildfires burning in six western states. this has been the worst fire season in ten years with nearly nine million acres burned. one of the reasons: the drought. researchers say california has not been this dry in 500 years. here's david begnaud. >> reporter: in california, more than 11,000 firefighters are chopping, digging and dumping
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water, trying to stay ahead of 12 major fires. >> there was no stopping it. you couldn't get in the way. you had to get out of the way. >> reporter: hot winds and drought-fueled brush sparked the butte fire, burning east of sacramento. 10,000 people have been evacuated and 135 homes destroyed. the sierra nevada national forest has been burning for over a month. calfire captain dave shew says a huge concern is how rapidly the fires are moving. >> if the moisture content is already gone, that means the fuel will ignite much faster, much easier, and continue to spread at a much faster rate. >> reporter: the chelan fire in washington state last month burned 88,000 acres, and 13 large fires continue to burn there, including the okanogan, the largest wildfire in that state's history. in oregon right now, four major fires are keeping firefighters busy there, and in california, scientists today discovered a new concern-- the sierra nevada snow pack is the lowest it's
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been in 500 years, which means little water will run off to help with drought conditions. with no end to the hot, dry temperature in sight, governor jerry brown has declared a state of emergency. >> increasingly over the next few years and decades we'll see the same thing, only more exaggerated and more intense. >> reporter: as it starts to drizzle now, it's almost impossible to exaggerate the devastation that is middletown. at this apartment complex, there are 50 units. every one of them has been leveled. scott, california has seen 1,600 more fires this year than in normal years. >> pelley: with more to come, david, thank you. tonight, austria is rushing troops to its borders, one of several european nations imposing an emergency lockdown. thousands of refugee families are pouring into europe, fleeing war and poverty in the middle east and north africa. charlie d'agata was there as hungary sealed itself off. >> reporter: first a wall of hungarian police blocked one of
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the last gaps in the 100-mile- long fence. then troops rode in a train carriage bristling with razor wire to seal the border shut. this after a record 5,000 migrants crossed into the country before noon today, some were minutes too late. for those who made it, the hungarian government put them on trains to austria, the next stop in their quest to get to germany. that's where we found mohammed from hama, syria. >> most of us they think it was a trick. i won't believe anything until i sit with my cousins in germany. >> reporter: germany is the favored destination for most with its strong economy and generous benefits. the country now says it expects to take a million migrants, another 200,000 more than forecast. but yesterday, germany introduced border controls, a
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sign that even that country may be struggling to control the massive wave of migrants heading its way. austria quickly followed suit, sending police to its borders, as did others. the sheer number of migrants has forced europe to suspend one of its founding principles: the border-free zone between countries. under new laws that go into effect here in hungary tonight, scott, anybody caught crossing the border illegally faces up to five years in prison. today, europe's interior ministers came to no decision about where to settle the migrants who just keep coming. >> pelley: charlie d'agata outside the razor wire fence that's now penning in the migrants tonight. charlie, thank you. at least 34 migrants drowned when their crowded boat capsized in high winds off greece. 15 of them were children. holly williams has discovered that other families are being attacked at sea. >> reporter: these are the survivors of the latest tragedy at sea.
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the risky journey to europe has claimed more than 2,500 lives so far this year. but refugees are also being harassed at sea, further endangering them. this inflatable raft was intercepted just a few miles off shore by the turkish coast guard. they tried to force it back, firing a warning shot over the heads of those on board, and then two more. terrifying the men, women and children in the raft. as they crossed into greek territorial waters, the turkish coast guard finally moved away. but it follows our investigation last week. we found men on an unmarked speedboat approaching from greek waters. a refugee filming on board one
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of the rubber dinghies hid his camera. but he told us the men were dressed in black and pointed guns at them. they cut the fuel supply to their motors, leaving the refugees adrift on the open sea and frightened for their lives. we helped tow one of the rafts to safety, but those attempting the perilous crossing to europe must now also risk harassment and sabotage. the greek coast guard told us today that it's now launched an investigation into the incident that we witnessed, which it says was reprehensible, but, scott, the greek coast guard has not said whether its men were involved. >> pelley: holly williams reporting for us tonight. thanks, holly. today in kentucky, a county clerk returned to work after spending five days in jail for denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
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licenses were issued today, but not by her. here's jericka duncan. >> i don't want to be in the spotlight, and i certainly don't want to be a whipping post. i am no hero. >> reporter: moments before going back to work, rowan county clerk kim davis made a statement surrounded by law enforcement and her son. >> i just want to serve my neighbors quietly without violating my conscience. >> reporter: davis agreed not to interfere with her deputies, who now have the power to sign off on marriage licenses. >> any marriage license issued by my office will not be issued or authorized by me. >> reporter: she spent most of the day in her office with her door closed and blinds drawn. >> to protect those god-given rights. >> reporter: outside her supporters continued to rally. but that didn't deter shannon and carmen wampler-collins. the couple says they've been together for 23 years.
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>> thank you. >> thank you very much. >> reporter: they became the eighth same-sex couple to get a marriage license from rowan county. are you at all concerned that your marriage license isn't valid? >> i'm not concerned about it at all. it's a temporary patch the way they're handling it now. >> i think it's going to be valid from everything we've heard except from her attorneys. ys will be recognized just like any other license. i don't think she has control over that. >> reporter: what's your message to kim davis? >> you know i think she should do her job. >> reporter: and tonight there are still questions about the validity of those marriage licenses signed by deputy clerks. scott, kentucky's attorney general and governor have both said and maintained that those licenses are valid. >> pelley: jericka, thank you. also in kentucky, a state trooper was shot to death. it was last night and it came at the end of a chase. he was 31-year-old rookie joseph ponder. police killed the suspect this morning when they say he refused
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to drop his gun. there was a fatal shooting today on the campus of delta state university in mississippi. the victim was american history professor ethan schmidt, gunned down in his office. police say they're searching for a suspect, shannon lamb, who works at the university and may have killed a woman whose body was found today 300 miles from campus. a year after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in ferguson, missouri, a commission appointed by the governor called today for a series of reforms. here's michelle miller. >> it has not been easy. change is hard. >> reporter: governor jay nixon's task force was created to address the underlying causes of the violent clashes between police and protesters following the police shooting of michael brown. as expected, the report calls for plenty of police reforms, including standard protocols for
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dealing with mass demonstrations and a non-militarized response to them. more anti-bias and sensitivity training for cops and a database to track police use of force cases. but the report also calls for deep societal and economic change. committee co-chair, the reverend starsky wilson, says st. louis remains one of the most segregated cities in america. >> we must be accountable for that. that one in five children in our region live in poverty. we must be accountable for that. >> reporter: one startling statistic shows that life expectancy in one predominantly white suburban neighborhood is 91.4 years. in a nearby almost all black suburb, life expectancy is 56 years of age-- a 35-year difference. the panel wants to increase the minimum wage, provide equal access to education opportunities, expand medicaid, even end hunger for inner city kids and families. >> these are deep and vexing problems.
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>> reporter: governor nixon says the state will not shy away from the cost and challenge of repairing the community. >> it's clear that we have embraced this challenge that has vexed not just st. louis, but our country, and we're going to try to lead. >> reporter: and governor nixon says he's fully committed to finding that funding for those reforms. but with just 16 months left in office, scott, critics question whether his successor or the republican-controlled legislature will follow through. >> pelley: michelle miller in st. louis this evening. michelle, thanks. what happens when your number comes up but lottery officials don't pay up? the largest volcano in japan blows its stack. and a giant whale drops in on a tiny boat. cont the "cbs evening news" continues.
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lotto-limbo until the state passes a budget. lottery officials say money for the prizes is there, but they don't have the authority the pay off. dean reynolds is looking into this. >> reporter: ronda rasche was a big winner in july, reaping a top prize of $50,000 from a $3 scratch-off lottery ticket, but there is just one thing-- she has yet to see the money. >> i feel like my balloon was kind of deflated, if you want to put it that way. i don't feel like it's fair. >> reporter: republican governor bruce rauner and the democratic- controlled state legislature have failed to agree on a budget. without a budget, rasche and other big winners will just have to wait. >> we cannot pay those bills until we have a budget in place. >> reporter: illinois state comptroller leslie munger says the budget impasse is also delaying funding for higher education, as well as student grants and potentially for health insurance payments and benefits for the elderly and disabled. >> they're all going to have to
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wait in line until we get a budget. >> reporter: not so fast says attorney tom zimmerman, who has filed a suit in federal court to get his lottery clients more than an i.o.u. >> we don't know if there will be a budget, when there will be a budget, and why should the lottery winners have to suffer? >> reporter: at a convenience store in chicago where ronda rasche was pictured as a winner, lottery ticket sales were down, but hope was still up. we watched security officer mitch thompson plunk down $10 for a ticket. you know that if you win big, the lottery agency right now can't pay out. >> right. well, i'll just have to wait. i've been waiting all my life, right? >> reporter: now illinois has the money to pay the 29 big winners what they're owed, which the lottery says is about $41 million currently, and prizes of less than $25,000 are being paid, but, scott, without a budget deal, those big winners
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are out of luck. >> pelley: dean reynolds in the chicago newsroom tonight. dean, thanks very much. drivers are winning at the gas pump. we'll tell you about it next. what if one sit-up could prevent heart disease? one. wishful thinking, right? but there is one step you can take to help prevent another serious disease. pneumococcal pneumonia. if you are 50 or older, one dose of the prevnar 13® vaccine can help protect you from pneumococcal pneumonia, an illness that can cause coughing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and may even put you in the hospital. even if you have already been vaccinated with another pneumonia vaccine, prevnar 13® may help provide additional protection. prevnar 13® is used in adults 50 and older to help prevent infections from 13 strains of the bacteria that cause pneumococcal pneumonia. you should not receive prevnar 13® if you have had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or its ingredients. if you have a weakened immune system, you may have a lower response to the vaccine. common side effects were pain, redness or swelling at the injection site,
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>> pelley: gasoline prices are in a late summer slide, about a penny a day over the last month to a nationwide average tonight of $2.33, the lowest since february. today japan's largest volcano, mount aso, sent smoke and ash more than a mile into the sky. no injuries or damage, no homes threatened, but flights were canceled. japan has more than 60 active volcanoes. in monterey bay, california, two kayakers needed a bigger boat. a 40-ton humpback whale made a splash landing right by their kayak. they were knocked over, but they were not hurt. and we'll be right back.
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bayer aspirin regimen to help prevent another heart attack. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an that's making sure help geto those who need it most. nex 6. weather talent appears at wx center with generic pinpoint filling monitor then we take special >> pelley: >> pelley: we end tonight with a rare glimpse inside the secretive u.s. supreme court and into the mind of the veteran member, stephen breyer, appointed 21 years ago by president clinton. the justice, now 77, shared his thoughts with our chief legal correspondent jan crawford with the cbs news broadcast "sunday morning." >> reporter: breyer says they discuss the cases they gather in a private conference. >> the two rules are nobody speaks twice until everybody speaks once. >> reporter: at the conference? >> correct. and the second is tomorrow is another day.
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you and i might have been absolutely at loggerheads in case a. the fact that we were at loggerheads has nothing to do with case b. >> reporter: the nine all have different styles. breyer, a former professor at harvard law school, says he's a talker. where does that come from? is that how you were raised? >> probably teaching. >> reporter: what about your vimily? >> my family... this is my father's watch. it says, "irving breyer, legal adviser, san francisco unified school district, 1933 to 1973." so i grew up in a family focused on the public schools of san francisco. >> reporter: breyer says the justices generally get along. earlier this summer, when he argued against the constitutionality of the death penalty, justice antonin scalia was ready with his sharp pen. justice scalia called that a bunch of gobbledygook.
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>> that's his opinion. >> reporter: breyer took isalia's barbs in stride. >> he suffers from a disease which is called good writers' disease. and when he finds a felicitous phrase, he cannot give it up. it's like a good comedian. if you find a good joke and you're a comedian, you just can't give it up. >> reporter: do you think about retiring? >> sure. >> reporter: are you going to any time soon? >> i will eventually. >> reporter: so this is your home office? >> yes. >> reporter: but for the 77- year-old breyer, eventually is still a while off. jan crawford, cbs news, cambridge, massachusetts. >> pelley: and justice breyer will be a guest of stephen colbert tonight right after your late local news right here on cbs. and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs
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capt ===sot=== "i was just frozer probably about an hour just staring at my house and just glad it's still here." ===v= for thousands of evacuees,'s a waiting game tonight. ... unsure if they'll have anytg to come home to. and this is happening up and down the tonight flames a raging, burning tens of thousands of acres. a few lucky homes were spared. >> i was just frozen probably for about an hour. just glad it's still here. >> for thousands of evacuees it is a waiting game tonight, unsure they'll have anything to come home too. new at 6:00, we take you inside the center that makes sure help gets to those who need it more. good evening. i'm veronica de la cruz. >> and i'm allen martin. tonight we be gin with the overview of the epic fire. thousands of acres, thousands of people impacted. the fire is the size of san francisco and oakland combined. the fire is just 5% contained. no exact number but hundreds of homes have gone up in flames and
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thousands more are threatened tonight. there's one confirmed fatality, a david woman who was unable to escape the flames. the governor has declared a state of emergency for lake and napa counties. we have multiple crews covering the story. phil matier on stretching the limited fire resources. anne makovec with the fire evacuees. but first joe vazquez gives us a look at the devastation. >> just moments ago we received a statement from the family of the woman killed here in the valley fire. her name, 72-year-old barbara mcwilliams. according to her family, they're devastated by the death of their beloved mother, grandmother, and friend. barbara mcwilliams was a retired teacher and true adventurer who enjoyed traveling the world but she died because she could not get out of her house. >> reporter: just on the western outskirts of middletown in an


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